IY: The Ideas Bin ^_^

Ages ago I talked about where my ideas come from. Then, during the #writingchat twitter event (which runs every Wednesday, 8pm – 9pm GMT, joins us!) we all talked about the same. And what we do with our ideas. What makes a good one.

I thought it was time to revive the topic, particularly because Raven is talking about what her next indie project is going to be (‘Confessions of a BDSM Newbie’?).

I thought I spend a lot of time watching people and picking up habits, traits, expressions and mannerisms. openclipart - butterflyBut I don’t. I tend to gloss over all that stuff and get ideas from what people say and do. The mother in the park sobbing while her son plays on the swings. The man in the coffee shop with two laptops open in front of him and a very posh looking headset slung across his ears. The arm broken off what was probably a Barbie lying in the gutter at the end of my street. New buds unfurling on the branches of every single tree and bush I pass. The wall plaque of a butterfly with one wing broken off that I saw at the zoo yesterday. All these things fill me with ‘what if’, ‘how did that’ and ‘I wonder why’ questions.

It’s these questions that make stories as far as I’m concerned.

But not every idea is a good one. We all know that, right? Not every idea has enough meat on it to form a novel or even a novella. Some can stretch no further than the 100 words required recommended for micro flash.

Even the idea for this post doesn’t take me too much further than the next few paragraphs. :p


Credit: dinhochiz

Some ideas are great and can be used to create fantastic stories. Others are not. But that doesn’t mean they should be tossed or forgotten. Every idea, good or bad, large or small, should (in my opinion) be kept because you never know when it, or parts of it can be used later.

And this is where the Ideas Bin comes in. I have a folder somewhere in my Dropbox called The Dumping Ground. This is where I put all my ideas, broken snippets and fragments of thoughts that I know I can’t use. But it’s only in that moment I can’t use them. I know full well that trawling through that folder later will give me just the missing ingredients I’ve been looking for to complete a story or generate completely new ones. And that’s important.

I’m a firm believer in ‘nothing should be wasted’ (you should see me when the boys don’t finish their dinner – out comes the foil, cling film and Tupperware!). Ideas are the same. Granted, they’re easy to generate (with practice) and there are thousands of them floating around, waiting to be plucked from the air, but why waste them? Why let them go when you never know what use you may have for them later.

recycling bin

Credit: Gerald_G

Do you have an ideas bin? Or something similar? How do you generate ideas for your stories and what do you do with the ones that don’t speak to you?

new ileandra signature,

About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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3 Responses to IY: The Ideas Bin ^_^

  1. I’m also into not wasting anything, coz you never know…sometimes I go back and look at stuff I wrote years ago and I take the idea and run with it, modernising it, changing it here and there. I probably should write down more things as they come to me on my phone. Like most folks I’ve always got my phone to hand.
    I like to collect titles, or spookily, names off headstones. Weird I know.

    Regards generating ideas, I can just go with a word, or a line, or an image. I think the key is just write, if it doesn’t come out how you want it at first, you’ll start writing yourself into it as you lay more words down.


    • Names of headstones, eh? Not weird at all. Real names, real people. Giving people gone by a new life by lending their name to a character – I think that’s actually really nice.

      And that whole ‘writing yourself into a story?’ Hell yes. Hehee, Dan gave me another apology on Saturday for telling me off at the opening to my latest short story. He always apologises – bless him – but he shouldn’t because I did exactly that: write myself in. But reading to the group helps me identify where those issues are and where they need to be fixed. And who knows, those snippets I’m going to cut may well be used another time. 😉


  2. Pingback: RS: Be Green – Recycle! | Writing: A Conversation Without Interruptions

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